Knowing and monitoring blood sugar levels is not just for diabetic patients. This habit can help you understand how your body works, what food causes blood sugar spikes, and the best way to eat on a daily basis, whether that looks like going for a walk post-meal or making sure you are eating well-balanced meals.
Prediabetes is one of the fastest-growing chronic conditions in the United States. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, over half of all Americans have blood sugar levels that are considered high and abnormal.
If you are looking to optimize your metabolism, tracking your blood sugar levels is a great first step. But how do you know if your readings are considered normal blood sugar levels? Keep reading to know what the normal blood sugar ranges are, why it’s important to keep them balanced, and more.
What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Non-Diabetic People?
Your blood sugar level will fluctuate based on the time of day and when you last ate a meal. That means a normal blood sugar level falls within a certain range for a person without diabetes.
Generally, according to endocrinologists from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), a normal blood sugar level ranges between 70 and 130 mg/dL. This, again, depends on the particular time of day and when you ate your last meal:
- Fasting blood sugar (morning, before eating your breakfast): 100 mg/dL and below
- One hour after a meal: 90-130 mg/dL
- Two hours after a meal: 90-110 mg/dL
- Five or more hours after a meal: 70-90 mg/dL
What Are the Blood Sugar Levels for Diabetic People?
The answer to this question depends on whether you have prediabetes or have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. It is important to note that prediabetes is not yet diabetes, although, at a prediabetic stage, your blood sugar is already too high compared to its normal level, but not too high that you are considered as diabetic. That being said, let’s see the blood sugar levels at the prediabetic and diabetic stages.
According to the CDC, prediabetes is a “serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.” While prediabetes is not yet diabetes, your blood sugar rises to relatively dangerous levels that can begin to slowly affect your health.
Here are the blood sugar levels that are associated with prediabetes:
- Fasting blood sugar level: 100 to 125 mg/dL
- Two hours after a meal: 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
It’s important to note that while Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are similar, they also have key differences in terms of how you can acquire it and how rapidly they develop once you acquire the condition. Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person's body fails to produce insulin. This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood. Type 2 diabetes is more of a gradual diagnosis, as the body stops responding to insulin over time. This eventually leads to an insulin production issue as well.
Here are the blood sugar levels of diabetics:
- Fasting blood sugar: 126 mg/dL or higher
- Two hours after a meal: 200 mg/dL or higher
Why It’s Important to Keep Your Blood Glucose Levels Balanced
Having well-balanced blood glucose levels is important for your energy, mood, and overall health. To understand the importance of balancing your blood sugar, you must understand the importance of blood sugar itself.
Blood sugar (glucose) goes into your body whenever you eat carbohydrates. Once glucose enters your bloodstream, the hormone insulin will be activated to utilize the glucose as an energy source. If you’ve heard that carbohydrates are important for getting enough energy, this explains why.
Keeping your blood sugar levels in the normal range will keep this process working right. But problems can develop when your blood sugar is too high or too low.
High Blood Sugar and Its Symptoms
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than the normal range. The problem begins when you get more glucose (in the form of carbohydrates and other sugars) than your body — especially your insulin — can take. If you consistently fill your body with an overabundance of carbs, your body will gradually become resistant to insulin. When your body becomes resistant to insulin, it fails to utilize glucose as an energy source.
This can lead to a host of health problems and symptoms, including:
- Frequent urination
- Frequent thirst
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue or low energy
- Blurred vision
- Tingling in your hands and feet
It is important to see a doctor if you are worried that the amount of glucose in your body is high. In the long run, this can lead to Type 2 diabetes and even further complications such as gestational diabetes, inflammation of the pancreas, diabetic ketoacidosis, and more.
Low Blood Sugar and Its Symptoms
Just like you don’t want your blood sugar levels too high, you also don’t want them to be too low.
Having low blood sugar means that your body will not get the energy that it needs because it does not have enough glucose to convert to energy. If your blood sugar level decreases too much, you can experience symptoms of hypoglycemia, including:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Tingling or numbness (usually of the lips, cheeks, or tongue)
In the worst cases, hypoglycemia can lead to more serious complications such as:
- Confusion (i.e., an inability to complete even routine tasks that you would normally complete)
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Kidney disease
- Loss of consciousness
Therefore, the key to optimal health when it comes to blood sugar is to balance it. When you have a balanced blood sugar level, your body can optimally utilize the glucose you get from the foods you eat, translating it to better energy levels, better mood, and better overall health.
How Can You Find Out If You Have Normal Blood Sugar Levels?
There are a few different ways that you can test or keep track of your average blood sugar level. Some popular glucose monitoring methods include a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), an A1C test, a glucose meter, doing a fasting blood glucose test, or an oral glucose tolerance test. You can also get your ketones tested, which usually appear in the urine of Type 1 diabetes patients.
Your healthcare provider will analyze your test results, and let you know the best course of action if they’re not in the normal range. This may include diabetes medications like metformin or lifestyle changes.
Natural Ways to Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced
When it comes to managing your blood sugar levels naturally, there are a few different lifestyle habits that you can focus on, such as exercising and knowing what foods trigger blood sugar increases. Here are some lifestyle changes that can help keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
1. Exercise Regularly or Just Get Your Body Moving
Exercise is one of the gold standards when it comes to reducing blood sugar levels. This is because your body will be forced to utilize glucose when you’re working out. However, some exercises can temporarily raise your blood sugar level, so consult your doctor first to know which exercise program will work best for you.
Also, simply get moving. As they say, “Any exercise is better than no exercise.” If that exercise means taking more walks or becoming physically active by doing household chores such as mowing the lawn or mopping the floor, then that’ll be good for a start.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
As a general rule, monitor your carbohydrate and sugar intake to avoid sugar spikes and an increase in blood sugar levels.
Eat real foods and avoid eating processed foods. When buying at a grocery store, always check the label and make sure that the food has less trans fats and fewer to no added sugars. It’s also important to recognize that personalized nutrition is important when it comes to managing your blood sugar levels.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Depending on where you are in your health journey, you may be looking to either gain or lose weight. Excess fat, especially in the stomach region, and added weight can increase your body’s chances for developing insulin resistance. Therefore, if you are trying to manage your blood sugar levels, managing weight can be helpful. Similarly, if you are underweight, aim to gain weight in order to support your body and glucose levels as well.
4. Start Tracking Your Blood Sugar Levels
When it comes to keeping your blood glucose in balance, it’s important to remove the guesswork. Tracking your blood sugar levels will help you understand how your body responds to your daily eating habits and activities. You can then make adjustments that are unique to you as you work to optimize your metabolism.
Learn Your Personal Blood Sugar Levels
You now have a better understanding of what the normal blood sugar ranges are and the symptoms you might experience if your levels are too low or too high. There are natural ways to keep your blood glucose levels balanced, and tracking your blood sugar will arm you with information about how your unique body is reacting to your daily life.
If you are looking to improve your health, boost your metabolism, or increase your longevity, continuous glucose monitoring can help. Sign up today for Vital to begin understanding your blood sugar levels and receive personalized recommendations about exercise, food, and daily habits.